When was the last time you played on a seesaw? Maybe you called it a teeter-totter. The fun lasted only as long as the person on the other end weighed about the same as you. Enough of an imbalance and you either spent most of the time camped on the ground or hanging in the air.
It would be nice to think being an author meant spending all our time weaving words to enthrall readers. It would be nice…but not realistic. The reality of the publishing industry is that we must continuously build our platform, balancing writing and marketing. And balance is the key word…
Balance in apportioning our time
If we don’t write, we’ll have nothing to market. But if we don’t market, publishers will quickly stop publishing what we’ve written. Dividing our time between writing and marketing requires a delicate and flexible balance.
Experts have lots of advice as to how much time we should spend on marketing. But if we want to succeed, the advice of experts is merely a starting point. You might spend a half hour each day or a half day each week. A new book release may temporarily change your allotments. Marketing is a priority, but only you know how much time you need to spend on this task.
Balance in our methods
Speaking engagements, interviews, blog tours, websites, social media…our options keep multiplying, don’t they? And every option has both supporters and detractors.
You have a website, blog, and Facebook page. Then there’s Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn. But what about YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram? Of course, there’s also Digg, Flickr, and Tumblr.
Each time a new method comes along, it’s easy to think we need to jump in with all we’ve got. But if we’re not careful, participation in marketing tools – especially social media – can take on a life of its own.
Decide what works for you, but don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone. Explore social media management tools to maximize your efforts. Dashboard programs such as Hootesuite or Tweetdeck enable you to schedule posts in advance and simultaneously post to multiple sites.
Balance in our content
Social media is, well…social! This means the content of our posts should not be limited to sales pitches. Give your readers something of value—whether it’s insight into your personal activities, trivia about your book’s topic, writing tips, or anything else other than “buy my book!” Then occasionally sprinkle information about purchasing your books in your posts. Think of the marketing posts as seasoning: not too much and not too little.
Learn the lesson of the seesaw. Balance your marketing efforts to yield maximum impact!
Ava Pennington is a writer, Bible teacher, and speaker. Her newest book, Daily Reflections on the Names of God: A Devotional, is endorsed by Precepts founder Kay Arthur. Additionally, Ava is co-author of Faith Basics for Kids. The first two books in the series are Do You Love Me More? and Will I See You Today? She has also written numerous articles for magazines such as Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse, Today’s Christian Woman, Power for Living, and Called.
In addition to her writing, Ava also teaches a weekly, Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) class. She is a passionate speaker and teacher, and delights in challenging audiences with the truth of God’s word in relevant, enjoyable presentations. For more information, visit her at www.AvaWrites.com.